Author: Lulu Chang

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HP Enterprise and SpaceX are sending a supercomputer into space this week

Why it matters to you

If SpaceX and HP manage to get this supercomputer up and running for a year in space, it could pave the way for missions to Mars.

A supercomputer is about to make its way into space[1]. On August 14, the Dragon Spacecraft[2] from Elon Musk’s high-flying SpaceX[3] will be carrying some very precious cargo. It’s a Hewlett Packard Enterprise supercomputer called the Spaceborne Computer[4] that just may pave the way[5] for further technology in space.

Historically, the harsh conditions of outer space have been tough on computers. Laptops have to be replaced every few months, and off-the-shelf computers have historically fared not so well once leaving Earth’s surface. But the hope is that the supercomputer will do a bit better. After all, if scientists can’t figure out how to get this tech to work beyond Earth’s orbit, it would be difficult for us to actually move beyond our planet in any permanent capacity.

The HPE Spaceborne Computer could be something of a solution. It was built with NASA’s help, and is based upon HPE’s high-density Apollo 40 servers[6]. The hardware runs an unspecified version of Linux, and also employs a custom water-cooled enclosure that ought to keep the computer safe from the tough conditions of space, like radiation, solar flares, subatomic particles, and more.

Scientists hope that the Spaceborn Computer will manage to make it a full year — at least, that’s the amount of time that the machine will be left in orbit. If HPE and NASA manage to prove that the supercomputer can operate smoothly for an extended timeframe in space, it could pave the way for missions to Mars, where having dependable tech is of the utmost importance.

“A mission to Mars will require sophisticated on-board computing resources that are capable of extended periods of uptime,” wrote Alain Andreoli, senior vice president and General Manager at Hewlett Packard’s Data Center Infrastructure Group, in a blog post. “To meet these requirements, we need to improve technology’s viability in space in order to better ensure mission success,” Andreoli said. “By sending a supercomputer to space, HPE is taking the first step in that direction.”

The SpaceX Dragon will launch at 12:31 EST from Cape Canaveral, and you might even be able to watch the takeoff in person[7] should you be in the area. Of course, if you’re unable to make the live viewing, you can check out SpaceX’s YouTube channel[8] instead.

References

  1. ^ way into space (fortune.com)
  2. ^ Dragon Spacecraft (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ SpaceX (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Spaceborne Computer (www.nasa.gov)
  5. ^ pave the way (news.hpe.com)
  6. ^ Apollo 40 servers (www.hpe.com)
  7. ^ watch the takeoff in person (www.kennedyspacecenter.com)
  8. ^ SpaceX’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com)
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Bensly promises to make supremely comfortable and eco-conscious clothing

Why it matters to you

Fashion isn’t always the best for the environment, but Bensly is here to change all that.

Comfort and your conscience have never blended so seamlessly, nor so fashionably. Your new favorite menswear line just may be Bensly[1], a company that promises to use environmentally friendly[2] textiles in order reduce its environmental impact, and also to improve apparel breathability and fit. Promising clothing that is “softer than silk, more breathable than linen, and more absorbent than cotton,” Bensly uses a fabric known as Tencel, a sustainable fiber that actually comes from the eucalyptus tree.

The company says that its Tencel is sourced directly from sustainably-grown Austrian eucalyptus trees. Using a closed-loop fiber production process, Bensly then turns the wood chips into fine fibers that are ultimately spindled into yarn, and then knitted into fabric. This botanic material is then sent to Bensly’s engineers in Los Angeles, where designers cut and hand-stitch various articles of clothing.

Apparently, this plant-based material provides a natural wrinkle resistance, and manages moisture more effectively than synthetic cloths. As a result, Bensly claims that its t-shirts and boxers[3] reduce bacteria growth and also provide a cooling effect. The company’s clothes are all constructed with a blend of majority Tencel and a bit of Spandex for added flexibility and stretchiness.

Despite being founded just two years ago, Bensly already has a pretty impressive lineup of clothing. In addition to boxers and t-shirts, the company also makes joggers, hooded sweaters, and shorts, though these articles of clothing are made with yet another sustainable fabric.

Known as Pima cotton, Bensly claims that this particular material is the “only variety of cotton to thrive in desert conditions, which means less water wasted and greater conservation of our cherished natural resources.” Apparently, this cotton is also stronger than regular cotton, which means that your clothes won’t stretch or lose their shape as you continue to wear them.

While Bensly has been around since 2015, it’s now taking to Kickstarter[4] to raise more awareness for its line. And clearly, it’s paying off. The campaign has already raised over $75,000 — over three times its initial goal. And it’s also offering discounts on its clothing. For example, you can grab a pair of boxers for $22, a t-shirt for $56, or joggers for $76. All products are expected to ship in October.

References

  1. ^ Bensly (bensly.com)
  2. ^ environmentally friendly (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ boxers (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com)
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Amazon is refunding customers who bought unsafe glasses for the solar eclipse

Why it matters to you

Keeping your eyes safe during the solar eclipse is of the highest importance, but some Amazon sunglasses won’t do the trick.

As one of the decade’s most exciting natural phenomena fast approaches, it would appear that some ne’er-do-wellers are attempting to take advantage of the solar eclipse to turn a profit — but at the expense of their customers’ health. As initially reported by the Verge[1], Amazon is now having to issue refunds for potentially fallacious solar eclipse glasses, because yes, people are awful.

On August 21[2], a large swath of the American population will be able to watch as the sun disappears behind the moon[3]. The “Great American Eclipse” marks the first time in 38 years that the nation (or at least, parts of it), will be able to watch a total eclipse. But of course, watching such an event will require a lot of protective eyewear. And while many people turn to Amazon to buy just about everything they need in their lives, it would appear that the online retail giant can’t verify the safety of all the glasses on its site, and that some glasses are either counterfeit or unsafe.

“Safety is among our highest priorities,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch[4]. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards. We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard.”

In addition to providing refunds, Amazon is also reportedly removing sellers that are attempting to peddle unverified eclipse eyewear. If you recently bought a pair of sunglasses from Amazon for the purposes of watching the eclipse, and haven’t received a safety warning from the company, then you can rest assured that the supplier confirmed the product to the ISO compliant. If you think, however, that you have been duped, you can always reach out to Amazon’s customer service for a refund, as promised by the A-to-z Guarantee.

If you haven’t bought proper eye protection yet but plan on watching the event, Amazon does have a legitimate inventory of safe glasses[5] available to choose from. Just be sure that any pair you purchase has the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard mark.

References

  1. ^ Verge (www.theverge.com)
  2. ^ August 21 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ disappears behind the moon (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ TechCrunch (techcrunch.com)
  5. ^ safe glasses (www.amazon.com)
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Yet another reason to hate hotel Wi-Fi — it could be hacked by Russians

Why it matters to you

Russian hackers are targeting business-level hotels in a form of attack that nabs guest information, including usernames and password.

Hotel[1] guests already have enough anxiety-inducing fodder to make their stays a bit less than desirable. From the odd stain on the carpet to the questionable bedspread to the toilet that just won’t stop flushing (or won’t flush at all), there are plenty of reasons to think twice about even the nicest of temporary residences. And now, there’s one more.

As per a new report from security firm FireEye[2], a Russian hacker group called APT28, or Fancy Bear, has been targeting hotel Wi-Fi networks to spy on guests. And in recent months, the group has reportedly begun to use a leaked NSA hacking tool[3] to make their attacks more sophisticated still.

“FireEye has moderate confidence that a campaign targeting the hospitality sector is attributed to Russian actor APT28,” the firm wrote. “We believe this activity, which dates back to at least July 2017, was intended to target travelers to hotels throughout Europe and the Middle East.”

Perhaps most alarming is the discovery that once hackers succeeded in tapping into hotel Wi-Fi, they managed to take guests’ usernames and passwords completely passively. In fact, guests didn’t even have to type in their sensitive data to have it stolen.

“It’s definitely a new technique,” Ben Read, the leader of FireEye’s espionage research team told Wired[4]. “It’s a much more passive way to collect on people. You can just sit there and intercept stuff from the Wi-Fi traffic.”

FireEye believes that the hackers managed to infiltrate hotel networks via phishing emails that contained infected attachments and malicious Microsoft Word macros. Once they were in a hotel Wi-Fi network, they would then launch NSA hacking tool EternalBlue, which was leaked earlier in 2017. This tool allowed them to spread their control throughout the network, finally reaching servers responsible for the corporate and guest Wi-Fi networks.

Finally, APT28 is said to have used a network-hacking tool known as Responder, which gave them access to user credentials.

And if you think you can avoid these sorts of attacks by staying at nicer hotels, think again. “These were not super expensive places, but also not the Holiday Inn,” FireEye’s Read said. “They’re the type of hotel a distinguished visitor would stay in when they’re on corporate travel or diplomatic business.”

So what can you do to protect yourself? FireEye recommends bringing your own wireless hot spot to steer clear of hotel Wi-Fi altogether. Just another thing you’ll have to remember to pack for your next trip.

References

  1. ^ Hotel (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ FireEye (www.fireeye.com)
  3. ^ NSA hacking tool (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Wired (www.wired.com)
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Play in a giant Quad Wash dishwasher in New York City thanks to LG

Why it matters to you

This giant dishwasher waterpark from LG may just be the most clever marketing stunt this summer .

Even if you abhor doing the dishes, you might be able to derive some pleasure from the newest waterpark to make its way to New York City. It comes from LG, and it’s a giant dishwasher[1]. So if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a piece of china in your kitchen[2], here’s your chance. The goal of the new park is to promote the company’s new Quad Wash dishwasher[3], which as its name suggests, features four spray arms (dishwashers generally only have two). And while the real Quad Wash will fit inside your well-equipped kitchen, the amusement park version is just a tad too big.

Ok fine, way too big. The whole park takes up an impressive 6,750 square feet, which is bigger than two and a half tennis courts. You’ll be able to check it out on August 5, 12, and 19, the dates of the New York Citi Summer Streets festival, and it’s located on Park Avenue between 70 and 71st Street.

So what can you expect to find in this giant dishwasher? Obviously, you’ll see four spray arms, but then you’ll also have to navigate your way around giant plates and spoons that double as slides. The whole thing looks and feels a bit like a bouncy house, though most bouncy houses probably don’t include a maze of cups and utensils. Really, it seems like a great way to bribe your kids to do their chores.

LG will allow between 25 and 30 people to experience the watery goodness, but if you’re not interested in partaking, you can also learn more about the dishwasher itself in a poolside cabana.

“When we were developing the marketing plan for this, we were trying to think how we can make this fun,” said Peggy Ang[4], head of marketing for LG Home Appliances USA, “and reposition what is traditionally a chore, a mundane category, into something that people and families can congregate and experience together.”

So if you find yourself in New York this weekend or next and need a place to cool off (or cool the kids off), you may want to make your way towards the giant dishwasher, and rethink your relationship with your favorite kitchen appliance.

References

  1. ^ giant dishwasher (creativity-online.com)
  2. ^ kitchen (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ Quad Wash dishwasher (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Peggy Ang (www.adweek.com)